Medicare Part D

Generic prescription drugs are sometimes inaccessible to seniors

Illustration of a cracked golden pill
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Plans providing Medicare's prescription drug benefit are often slow to cover the first generic competition to a branded medication, according to a new white paper by the Association for Accessible Medicines, which represents generics.

Why it matters: Generics are our system's way of keeping drug prices in check. But this doesn't happen unless patients have access to them.

The costs for multiple sclerosis drugs have skyrocketed

The annual cost of multiple sclerosis treatments in Medicare Part D increased more than 400% between 2006 and 2016, according to a new analysis in JAMA Neurology.

By the numbers: Annual costs increased from a mean of $18,660 to $75,847, and patients' out-of-pocket costs increased by more than 700%. There were only 4 self-administered MS therapies before 2009; 7 more have entered the market since then.

Go deeper: The fight over the future of our most expensive drugs